Burner: The Best Disposable Phone Number App
There are always times when I don’t want to give out my real cell phone number – lots of times actually. I treat my cell phone number like a holy grail to avoid text message marketing, robo dials, and making sure that somehow it doesn’t show up in a Google search. I’ve written before about how I love Google voice and used it to end telemarketing calls for myself here. While that is a great long term solution, there are times that I need to communicate with someone by phone or text on a temporary basis. Enter Burner.
When would you ever need a temporary number? For me, I use it when I sell things on Craigslist. I don’t want any creeps calling later after I sold a table! Maybe someone wants to test the waters on a first or second date and doesn’t want to give their real number out…yet. Moving to a new city? Set up a Burner with a local area code while apartment hunting. Or you can use it to prank a friend. There are a number of situations this can come in handy.
I’ve used Burner in the past several times when the app first came out and had mixed opinions about the usability of it. Last week, I used it to sell some extra Lollapalooza passes that I had and was impressed with the changes that have been made to the app over the last year or so. The user interface was straight forward and the app was simple to use. It keeps a log of your calls, texts and voicemails under each Burner number so you can have multiple Burner’s at once and not get all mixed up about what is what.
I really like the ability to name each Burner for what that number is for. In addition, you can choose which area code you would like to have for each number. Each Burner can also have its own voicemail message. The settings allow you to turn off/on the ringer or sms messages, star favorite messages, and set a name to a phone number so you don’t have to guess by someones number. By default when someone calls a Burner number, the Burner number is displayed on the caller ID. Burner allows you to add that number to your phone book so when someone calls it displays: Burner:whatever you named that number. When the number is burned the app removes the contact record from your phone, automatically. Simple, but well thought out features.
The app itself is free but each Burner is paid for with credits. You can buy a bunch of Burner credits and then choose what type of Burner you would like for each situation. The credits don’t expire which is nice. The credit cost breakdown:
- 3 Credit Pack – $1.99
- 8 Credit Pack – $4.99
- 15 Credit Pack – $7.99
- 25 Credit Pack – $11.99
These credits are used with one of the four Burner types:
- Mini (3 credits) – 7 days or 20 talk minutes or 60 texts
- Standard (5 credits) – 30 days or 50 talk minutes or 150 texts
- Large (8 credits) – 30 days or 90 talk minutes or 270 texts
- Long (8 credits) – 60 days or 75 talk minutes or 225 texts
With every Burner you have the ability to extend it with more credits, or if you are done with it, burn it early to put it out of service. Overall, a lot of flexibility with every Burner number.
I do have a couple of small complaints about the app. First, if I miss a phone call from someone I can’t just tap that number to call back, I have to remember the number and then go back to the call screen to call back out. That is a big pain and I noticed how difficult it was while I was driving. There is a copy button that copies the phone number and then allows you to paste it in the call area, though. It seems like this is a feature that would be included so I’m not sure if there is a technical issue (with iOS) that prevents it. The second issue I have is when receiving a phone call it announces an automated message and requires you to hit 1 to connect the call. On more than one occasion I answered the call, started talking and then realized it hadn’t connected yet. It would be better if the calls connected right away. Overall, though, I highly recommend this app to everyone looking for a temporary phone number solution.
Protect your phone number! Burner comes in both iOS and Android flavors, is free to download, and includes one free burner to get you started. Visit their website here. Or download it from iTunes or the Google Play store.
p.s. if you use referral code OERHPBHZ you can get two additional Burner credits for free!